My husband and I love to joke that our idea of a romantic evening is to sit at the table with a laptop to go over budget. In fact, there are other activities that we prefer to do, like cooking dinner together and enjoying our meal by candlelight. But reviewing our budget is an important issue for which we must take time.
Recently, we sat down to fine-tune our budget until 2022 and realized that a number of changes were needed. Here are three budget changes we are planning.
1. Allocate more money to gas and groceries
My family needs to eat and my children need to go to school and their various activities. These are non-negotiable expenses. And lately, they’re costing us more.
My family is not the only one in this situation. Inflation has caused the cost of groceries and gas to skyrocket in recent months. But these increases easily cost my family an extra $ 50 to $ 60 per month, and that’s with shop smart and take advantage of our local warehouse club offers.
To compensate, we plan to cut take-out and delivery. We go through phases in my house where we fall back on prepared meals as the work intensifies. Next year, we hope to prepare and freeze meals better in advance, so that we don’t have to pay extra for food when we don’t have time to cook.
2. Budgeting for a car payment
Since we live right in the middle of the suburbs, my husband and I each need our own car. I need one to transport the kids around town, and he needs one to go to work.
For years he drove an aging Prius, despite having seen better days. At this point we can say that the car is about to be released, so we plan to rent a car in the first part of 2022.
Of course, this also means that for the first time in years we will have a car payment to handle. And frankly, we can’t cut too much daily spending to make up for it. Instead, we’ll have to see what kind of deal we get and aim to offset that higher payout by making me work harder. My husband is employed and cannot increase his income in his main job, while I am self-employed and can take on more assignments.
If I fail to increase my income, we will manage by reducing the amount of money we put in savings. Because we already have a fully loaded emergency fund, this is something we have the flexibility to do if needed.
3. Set aside more money for home repairs
Over the past three months my husband and I have spent over $ 8,000 on air conditioning repairs (including a complete replacement of one of our units), heating repairs, and a recent roof repair during a storm. Wind. That’s way beyond the amount of money we normally invest in home repairs, and it certainly served as a wake-up call.
While we’re hoping 2022 will be nicer to us on the home repair front, we’re also allocating more money to repairs on a monthly basis. That way, we hope that we don’t have to dip so much into our emergency savings when these things happen.
What budget changes will you make?
It’s a good idea to revisit your budget every now and then and see if any changes are needed. And if you haven’t been in a while, the start of the New Year is a great time to sit down and tackle this task.
You may find that not only do your expenses change, but your income also changes (for the better, hopefully). Making adjustments to your budget will help you manage your money and achieve the goals you set for yourself.